Horror Movie News and Reviews

Kristen Dearborn’s ‘Stolen Away’ Blurs The Lines Between Reality and Hell. [Book Review]

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Most have come to know Author Kristin Dearborn through her release earlier this year, Woman In White, I have not read the book yet, however, I am very pleased to say I will forever know Kristen’s work from her novel Stolen Away. I had no idea what to expect, the title was enough to draw me in along with the mystique cover art work. Dearborn writes this story with not only a supernatural element that I am sure most will thrive over, the real elements of taking on the responsibility of being a single mother, having a one-night-stand, and having a child taken, from your own home is very real and frightening.

Dearborn writes Trisha in such a way that I was drawn away from feeling sorry for her immediately, it just seemed like another person making poor choices in life. As I dove into the story more it was quite evident that our main character Trisha had hit some rough spots, but she was still trying to do right, unfortunately not always succeeding with the choices she has made. Trista’s ex Joel is introduced to us and is told that a DEMON has taken her son. Trisha now explains to her ex that her sons father is not exactly human, and this made for interesting conversation! Trisha and Joel set out to tackle the underbelly of hell as they fight to save Trisha’s son.

Dearborn uniquely tackles the horrific act of kidnapping and transforms it into a realm of ferocious terror, that is beyond our worst nightmares. Heartbreaking and disturbing Dearborn uses many elements of our culture to tell this story, and DEMON or not creates a tale that feels so real. We have all done things we have regretted, especially in our youth, once you witness Stolen Away you will have second thoughts about touching that syringe, going to that wild party, and hooking up with that stranger.

Stolen Away is a horrific read that blurs the lines between reality and hell together for a wild ride. A top recommend folks, once you’re on this ride, you will not be getting off.

  • Publication Date: June 24, 2016
  • Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press
  • Publication Length: 220 pages

Synopsis:

Trisha will admit she’s made a few mistakes in her life but that checkered past is behind her. She loves her kids, even if it’s tough being a single mom. But her loyalties are put to the test when her infant son disappears in the middle of the night, and his big sister says a monster took him.

Now Trisha has to face the full truth behind the one-night-stand that produced Brayden in all its scaly torridness – Brayden’s father wasn’t human and isn’t interested in sharing custody. However, even though DEMON has pulled this stunt many times before, he made a mistake when he chose Trisha. The one thing she won’t do is give up her son without a fight. Along with her ex-boyfriend, Joel, Trisha is dragged back into the seedy underworld in a desperate fight to reclaim her son, only this time she’s got a lot more to lose.

About the Cover

The cover was created by Italian artist Daniele Serra. He is a winner of the British Fantasy Award and has worked with companies such as DC Comics, Image Comics, Cemetery Dance, Weird Tales Magazine and PS Publishing. Recently his work was featured as interior art in a scene of Stephen King’s The Cell, with Samuel Jackson looking it over. Visit his web site to see more of his art: http://www.multigrade.it

kristin dearborn

About the Author

If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. Kristin has written books such as Sacrifice Island (DarkFuse), Trinity (DarkFuse), and had fiction published in several magazines and anthologies. Stolen Away was recently a limited edition offered from Thunderstorm Books, which sold out.

She revels in comments like, “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!) she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe. Kristin’s latest DarkFuse release is Woman in White.

Find more about Kristin online at kristindearborn.com or Facebook.

Praise for Kristin Dearbon

“In Stolen Away, Kristin Dearborn writes with a confidence and ferocity that demands you keep turning pages. Where lesser writers would flinch and look away, Dearborn tells the tale the way it should be, with cruelty and fascination for both her characters and the story. Kristin Dearborn isn’t just a writer to watch, she’s a writer to watch out for. If she’s swinging, you might want to duck, because she hits hard!—Bracken MacLeod, author of Mountain and Stranded

“Kristin Dearborn’s fast-paced horror thriller, Stolen Away, will possess readers as they strap in for a demonic thrill ride of sin and redemption.”—Stephanie M. Wytovich, author of An Exorcism of Angels

“Gripping nonstop suspense and unsettling horror that blazes the pages from start to finish. You’ll swear Stolen Away was written by a seasoned veteran of best-selling novels. Expect to want more after reading the second novel by Kristin Dearborn, an author whose work will shoot her straight to the top of reading lists.”—Rena Mason, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Evolutionist

“Kristin Dearborn catapults readers into an intricately layered world that is bleak and terrifying but never so damned as to be without hope or redemption.  If the devil, so to speak, is in the details, then this book raises hell, exploring not just demons internal as well as external, but also all the beautiful, heart-wrenching, contradictorily complex, powerful little things that define human experience. This book earns a prominent place of the bookshelf of any fan of demonic fiction.” —Mary SanGiovanni, author of The Hollower trilogy and Chills

“Horror born straight from a nor’easter, Dearborn’s Woman in White is a great read for a winter night—with a monster I’ll never forget.” —Christopher Irvin, author of Federales and Burn Cards

“Kristin Dearborn’s Woman in White is a rip-roaring monster tale with sharp-eyed characterization and something to say about the power dynamics between men and woman. Thought-provoking and entertaining as hell!” —Tim Waggoner, author of Eat the Night

“Great stuff! Suspenseful, quickly paced, unpredictable and wonderfully evil tale. Kristin Dearborn’s best yet!” —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure

“Dearborn has a wonderful sense of the macabre, along with the ability to balance the spookier aspects of her work with well-rendered, solid characterizations…Sacrifice Island is a blazing fast read, with engaging characters and a compelling narrative.” —The Maine Edge

Sacrifice Island is a fresh and interesting take on a tried and true horror setup.” —Examiner

Interview with iHorror.com & the lovely Kristin Dearborn

iHorror: Can you please tell us about yourself and also where you are from?

Kristin Dearborn: Hi! I’m Kristin! I’ve lived in New England all my life, growing up in a quaint little small town just outside Augusta, Maine. I’ve loved horror ever since I stumbled onto Bunnicula and Scooby Doo as a child, and quickly graduated on to Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, and Stephen King.

iH: Stolen Away visits a parent’s worst nightmare, losing a child and coping with the horrific ordeal. These thoughts are terrifying; how did you get started on Stolen Away? Any inspirations?

KD: I wrote 100,000 uncompleted words of a draft of Stolen Away in 2005 while I was on vacation at Disney with my family. The seed planted itself watching a very young couple trying to wrangle a bunch of kids at a family pool. They looked exhausted, scared, tattooed and maybe a little strung out, and my imagination went on to ask what would make life worse for them. That draft petered out and didn’t really have a plot, but the characters stuck with me. The media kept feeding the idea in my brain—Casey Anthony’s case in particular, I like to imagine what if with news stories sometimes. What if she did kill her kid, but only because the kid wasn’t her kid anymore, and had been taken over by Something Else? The final push to get me writing was Breaking Bad: the plotline where Jesse dates the girl with the little boy, and Walter uses the kid as collateral to manipulate him. I started Stolen Away over almost a decade after the idea first came to me, working from scratch, not even looking at my earlier draft.

iH: Stolen Away introduces readers into a new kind of hell after the terrifying kidnapping. Did you do any research in preparation for Stolen Away?

KD: When I’m writing about a certain type of monster, I like to read and watch other peoples’ takes on the genres and tropes. I watched a lot of Supernatural, revisited the Exorcist. Rosemary’s Baby is a huge influence on this book—one of the central themes to both, I think, is how horror can silence women’s voices. Joel listens to Trisha and becomes her advocate. Trisha also has Tabby to lean on. Cherry doesn’t have someone like that, and look where she turns out. Rosemary’s advocate is her friend Hutch, but he is killed off, leaving her alone.

I did a lot of online research about drug abuse and addiction, and how the body reacts to certain types of drugs. I hope I managed to get some of it right.

iH: What were the beginning years of your writing like?

KD: In the beginning, probably 1985 at the tender age of 3, I would dictate stories to my mother, and then illustrate them. Once I learned to write, I never looked back. I was always “making books” (e.g., stapling paper together folded in half and beginning stories about dogs having adventures) and in seventh grade had some academic support to finish some “longer” works. I always kind of did it for fun, and it wasn’t until after college that a light clicked on that this was a thing people actually did for a job. Writing wasn’t just a hobby for everyone, and it didn’t have to be that for me.

iH: What do you love about being an author?

KD: I love the commitment I’ve made to the craft. When I made the decision to attend Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program, I decided this was going to be more than a little thing I did on the side. I love the discipline and the focus it takes to go from blank page to shitty draft to finished product. I also really love other writers and conventions and networking events. I have an entire family spread out across the US, my tribe.

iH: Who is your favorite author and do you favor a particular genre?

RD: As this interview is for iHorror.com, my answer here should surprise no one. I’ve been enamored with the horror genre since my first read of Bunnicula (which I mention a second time because it was such an influential work). I can’t have been very old, but I do recall feeling like there were some horror “in-jokes” I wasn’t getting as I was reading, and I wanted to understand them. My parents gave me carte blanche in the library to read whatever books I wanted, but I didn’t have access to horror movies. I can remember reading kid’s book versions of all the classic horror movies as a kid: The Blob,The Invisible Man, Dracula, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Deadly Mantis, etc. from the Crestwood Monster Series. I felt like I knew these movies even though I’d never seen them. I don’t remember how old I was when I saw The Lost Boys, but I remember lying awake when it was over, trembling with excitement, wishing I could some day make something that made someone else feel the way the movie made me feel. The characters were so cool, so fun. This was before sparkly vampires, but David and his crew were terrifying and appealing at the same time. “You never grow old, and you never die.” All this is a roundabout way of saying horror is my favorite genre.

As for favorite author, that one’s easy. A native Mainer and University of Maine graduate, the only acceptable answer here is Stephen King.

iH: Is there any subject matter that you would not even think about writing about?

RD: I certainly can’t think of one right now. Any subject matter, if handled well, can be fertile ground for a story. I thought that A Serbian Film brought strong characters and compelling writing to an abhorrent topic, and delivered a powerful allegory for the way the Serbian government treats its citizens. Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door tackles another awful topic with vivid characters and masterful writing. There are some topics I don’t think I’m ready for yet, but when the time is right, I’ll tackle them.

iH: Any writing advice that you can offer our future authors?

RD: Read. It breaks my heart to hear anyone who fancies themself a writer say they don’t have time to read. It’s a bigger part of your craft than the part where you put the words on the page. Author Mike Arnzen talks about reading his way through every cheesy horror novel in his local bookstore to really get under the hood of the thing and understand what makes the genre tick. There’s more to it than that, though, you have to leave your genre sometimes. There’s a whole world of stories out there, and the more of them you can consume, the better. Movies and TV are great, too, but those are more like dessert, best served in small doses.

iH: What can fans expect in the future? Are you currently working on any new novels?

RD: My novella Whispers, my modern re-telling of H.P. Lovecraft’s Whisperer in Darkness will be coming out this fall from Lovecraft E-Zine. I have a few short stories coming out, but don’t have release details for those. I’m plugging away at a horror novel, but it’s coming along slowly.

iH: When you are not busy brainstorming and writing what do you do in your spare time?

RD: My other passions are rock climbing, hiking, and motorcycles. Vermont is a gorgeous place to do all of these activities, and every sunny summer day I agonize over whether to get outdoors and ascend something (generally with my dog Tali in tow) or whether to hit the back roads on my Harley.

Kristen thank you so much for chatting with us. We look forward to sharing more of your work with fans in the future (BTW absolutely love the tattoo)!

For more reviews and information on Stolen Away and Kristen Dearborn check out For A Hook Of A Book Publicity Tour – Stolen Away.

Stolen Away tour graphic (3)

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